Felt the heat melt all my strength away.
Felt so lonely, felt so abandoned.
“Where is God?” I heard my little voice say.
I need You, I need You.
Oh Lord, please hold me next to You.
I need You, I need You.
Oh Lord, don’t let me fall from You.
Lord, I know this world isn’t easy,
And I know that You never promised no pain.
Trials will come and trials will test me,
But help me lord, it’s hard to see them as gain.
I forget that You’re right beside me.
Let me know that You’re with me through the length.
Though I’m weak this is my prayer -
Through my weakness, Lord, please be my strength.
1 Surely God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
I had nearly lost my foothold.
3 For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4 They have no struggles;
their bodies are healthy and strong.
5 They are free from common human burdens;
they are not plagued by human ills.
6 Therefore pride is their necklace;
they clothe themselves with violence.
7 From their callous hearts comes iniquity;
their evil imaginations have no limits.
8 They scoff, and speak with malice;
with arrogance they threaten oppression.
9 Their mouths lay claim to heaven,
and their tongues take possession of the earth.
10 Therefore their people turn to them
and drink up waters in abundance.
11 They say, “How would God know?
Does the Most High know anything?”
12 This is what the wicked are like—
always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.
13 Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
and have washed my hands in innocence.
14 All day long I have been afflicted,
and every morning brings new punishments.
15 If I had spoken out like that,
I would have betrayed your children.
16 When I tried to understand all this,
it troubled me deeply
17 till I entered the sanctuary of God;
then I understood their final destiny.
18 Surely you place them on slippery ground;
you cast them down to ruin.
19 How suddenly are they destroyed,
completely swept away by terrors!
20 They are like a dream when one awakes;
when you arise, Lord,
you will despise them as fantasies.
21 When my heart was grieved
and my spirit embittered,
22 I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.
23 Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.
27 Those who are far from you will perish;
you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
28 But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.
To understand how prayer helps us face tests and temptations.
As Redeemer’s ministry theme of “Prayer Renewal: Drawing near to God” continues, we will keep exploring Jesus’ model prayer (“the prayer of prayers”) as a way of helping us to understand how and why we should pray. We isolate one part of “The Lord’s Prayer” each week and reflect on a biblical text that helps us understand what is happening in that particular aspect of prayer.
This week’s focus from The Lord’s Prayer is “lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” Psalm 73 recounts for us a situation in which Asaph (the psalmist in this case) is experiencing the testing of his faith. He saw the wicked prospering while the righteous suffered and this created a battle in both his head and his heart. On the one hand, it seemed unjust that such a state of affairs would exist and this so bewilders him that he questions the goodness and power of God. On the other hand, the prosperity of the wicked also left him in a place of envy. In prayer, he wrestles with both of these things and thus demonstrates for us how to deal with the tests and temptations that come our way.
Goal for this section: To reflect on the things that test one’s faith.
1. (Vv. 2-14) What dilemmas is the psalmist facing that put his faith to the test? What other things do we encounter that serve to test our faith?
Goal for this section: To consider how those who follow Jesus can effectively deal with the tests and temptations that they face as part of the ongoing battle of living the Christian life.
2. (Vv. 15-22) How does the psalmist effectively deal with these tests to his faith? What does it suggest that one’s approach should be when faith is tested?
3. (Vv. 23-26) How do we see the grace of God exhibited in verses 23-26, and how is the experience of God’s grace critical in helping someone to be faithful to God amidst the things which test their faith? How does the grace manifested in the death and resurrection serve to further encourage a Christian in the face of tests?
To grow in joy and dependence on God as reading the Bible and prayer come together to influence your daily life and help you persevere through testing.
Last week we focused on learning to see ourselves rightly, confessing our sin, and asking forgiveness. During the week did you think more about your need for forgiveness or notice a depth of God’s mercy toward you as you were honest with him, or push back and not want to engage with it?
This week in our prayer exercise, we will explore Christian meditation by bringing together scripture and prayer. We will use the framework of Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication (ACTS) as a way of reflecting on scripture. If you don’t know what you think about God or the Bible right now, use this as a time to ask God to show himself to you. No matter where you are with faith, this exercise can help you engage your mind and your heart with truth about God and your own life. During this prayer exercise you will have individual time to reflect and pray and then at the end, the group can pray together, thereby sharing with God and each other what you learned from scripture.
“Often, as you are meditating, or as you are praying, you may feel your heart warm or even melt with a spiritual sense of the reality of God. Sometimes, of course, nothing happens at all! And very rarely, you can have life-changing experiences of the presence of God that you never forget. The number and power of these encounters are completely out of your control. The Spirit blows wherever he pleases (John 3:8). But it has only been with the practice of meditation that my own experience of God’s reality has become at all regular and progressively deeper.” Tim Keller
1. QUIET YOURSELF (2 min.)
Silence. Simple Prayer. Take a few minutes to quiet your mind and ask God to remove all distractions.
2. BIBLE READING (10-15 min.)
Individually look again at Psalm 73. Write down one or two insights that especially helped you. Ask the following questions of those insights and write down your thoughts:
3. GROUP PRAYER (5-10 min.)
Anyone who is comfortable can pray aloud brief sentence prayers, telling God the things that you have realized/written from the time you just spent.
Try practicing this way of prayer on your own this week. As an encouragement remember that through this practice your experience of God’s reality can become regular and progressively deeper.